Shared grief and understanding


Last month, in answer to a Parliamentary question in the UK, the Conservative MP James Cleverly replied, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, that the “UK regularly raises the issue of demolitions and forced evictions of Palestinians from their homes with the Government of Israel” and noted further that such “demolitions and evictions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. This recognition that Israel regularly violates international humanitarian law raises a further obvious question: So why doesn‘t the UK Government and its allies take action to call Israel to account?

Child killed by Israeli Army gunfire

At 3pm on 28 July, Israeli soldiers shot Mohammad Mo’ayyad Bahjat Abu Sara, aged 11, as he sat inside his father‘s car, near the entrance to Beit Ummar, Hebron. Five hours later in hospital, Mohammad died from chest wounds and bleeding in his lungs. An eyewitness testified that the soldiers had fired on the vehicle at least 13 times at a distance of approximately 50 metres. A B’Tselem video shows the vehicle was fired upon after it had backed up. Mohammad is the eleventh Palestinian child to be shot and killed by Israeli forces in the Occupied West Bank since the beginning of this year.

Defence for Children International Palestine (DCIP) reported the attack, much to the fury of the Israeli Occupation forces, who broke into the DCIP office at 5am the next morning. During the raid, more than a dozen Israeli soldiers seized possession of six computers, two laptops, hard drives and the files on Palestinian child prisoners that DCIP represents in Israeli military courts.  Of course, the Israeli forces left no indication as to reason for the raid nor did they leave any receipts for the seized documents and equipment.

At Mohammad‘s funeral the following day, one the mourners, Shaukat Awad, was shot in the head and abdomen by Israeli forces and died later in hospital. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, at least 12 people were wounded by live ammunition at the funeral and there were several casualties from rubber-coated bullets and tear gas grenades.

Sheikh Jarrah

On 2 August, Israel’s Supreme Court avoided handing down a ruling on a case in which Palestinian families, from six homes in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, were threatened with eviction. Israel‘s Attorney General, Avichai Mendelblit, had already refused to submit a legal opinion to the Supreme Court on the case, arguing that “the Palestinian families’ case was too weak to prevent the pending evictions.” This was in spite of the fact that the Sheikh Jarrah families have documents that prove Palestinian ownership of the land on which their homes are built.

One of the Supreme Court judges is a settler and the case against the Palestinian families is on behalf of Nahalat Shimon, a settler organisation which claims ownership over Sheikh Jarrah. The Israeli Occupation is also threatening to forcibly expel a further 24 families, numbering around 550 people. But now, following months of protests and mounting international pressure, Israel is looking to delay a hard-and-fast ruling until public attention can be sufficiently diverted. To gain time, the Supreme Court proposes that, for now, the residents remain in their homes as ‘protected residents’ while, however, being forced to pay rent to Nahalat Shimon. This proposal, on behalf of the settlers, would keep alive the ability to forcibly evict the residents at a later stage and they firmly reject that proposal. One resident, Mohammad El-Kurd affirmed on Twitter that “no decision or agreement has been reached.” How can Palestinians hope for justice from a discriminatory legal system, militarily-imposed beyond Israel’s internationally-recognised borders, that is itself a gross violation of international law?

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A bereaved mother‘s appeal

In 1997, Dr Nurit Peled-Elhanan‘s 13-year-old daughter, Smadar, was killed by a Palestinian suicide bomber in Jerusalem. Nurit’s insistence that the tragedy was caused by the Israeli Occupation inspired her brother, Miko Peled, to re-examine the Zionist assumptions he had grown up with. The process transformed him into becoming an activist for human rights. Miko was born and brought up in a prominent Zionist family and his grandfather, Avraham Katsnelson, a signatory to Israel’s Declaration of Independence, fought as a general in the 1967 Six-Day War. For Miko Peled, the war was a “cynical campaign of territorial expansion”.

Nurit, an Israeli professor of language and education at Hebrew University, when invited to speak at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on International Women’s Day, 2010, told her listeners: “I believe you should have invited a Palestinian woman in my stead, because the women who suffer most from violence in my county are the Palestinian women.” She went on to dedicate her speech to: “Miriam R`aban and her husband, Kamal, from Beit Lahiya in the Gaza Strip, whose five small children were killed by Israeli soldiers while picking strawberries at the family’s strawberry field. No one will ever stand trial for this murder.”

As an Israeli woman, Nurit felt herself favoured and protected:

I have never experienced the suffering Palestinian women undergo every day, every hour, I don’t know the kind of violence that turns a woman’s life into constant hell. This daily physical and mental torture of women who are deprived of their basic human rights and needs of privacy and dignity, women whose homes are broken into at any moment of day and night . . .”

It is this daily toll that our politicians and mainstream news media fail so utterly to recognise. Nevertheless, Nurit inevitably shares in the horror, as she explains:

I am a victim of violence against women insofar as violence against children is actually violence against mothers. Palestinian, Iraqi, Afghan women are my sisters because we are all at the grip of the same unscrupulous criminals who call themselves leaders of the free enlightened world and in the name of this freedom and enlightenment rob us of our children.”

Speaking as an Israeli, Nurit declared:

My natural and civil rights as a mother have been violated and are violated because I have to fear the day my son would reach his eighteenth birthday and be taken away from me to be the game tool of criminals such as Sharon, Bush, Blair and their clan of blood-thirsty, oil-thirsty, land-thirsty generals.”

The daily toll

And so it goes on . . . and on: Since 21 July – 4 August, inclusive, Israel has carried out 16 Gaza ceasefire violations, including five waste-laying incursions into the territory and air strikes. Five people (three of them minors) have been killed by Israeli forces, with 290 wounded. There were 44 Israeli Army home invasion raids in Palestinian towns and villages, many of them at dead of night.

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Leslie Bravery is a Londoner with vivid World War Two memories of the Nazi blitz on his home town. In 1947/1948 His father explained to him what was happening to the Palestinians thus: “Any ideology or political movement that creates refugees in the process of realising its ambitions must be inhuman and should be opposed and condemned as unacceptable.” What followed confirmed this assessment of the Zionist entity a hundredfold. Now a retired flamenco guitarist, with a lifelong interest in the tragedy of what happened to the Palestinian people, he tries to publicise their plight. Because the daily injustices they suffer barely get a mention in the mainstream news media, Leslie edits/compiles a daily newsletter, In Occupied Palestine, for the Palestine Human Rights Campaign. These days, to preserve his sanity, he enjoys taking part in a drama group whenever possible!


  1. When will Israelis attempt to retain the soul of their nation? It started in sorrow but with hope, but has deteriorated since. The previous grievous behaviour towards Jews in the world seems to have become internalised – is the toxicity overwhelming and permanent?

    • It very much looks that way Greywarbler; the ‘allies’ solution to a humanitarian crisis that has turned into another seemingly unsolvable humanitarian crisis. So sad for the many on both sides who just want to get on with their lives in dignity and respect.

    • Careful with language. The issue is Zionism, settler colonialism..not Judaism.
      The Israeli regime will continue its cruel agenda until the outside world applies pressure.

      • Should you take on board your advice on language Lois? Your own does seem to be rather prejudicial and your articles, if you’ll forgive me, seem to omit certain facts which would be pertinent to a balanced discussion of the topic at hand.
        I’m afraid the issues are far, far older than Zionism and settler colonialism. The jihad against Israel is just one manifestation of many currently occurring in our post WW2 global world. And now the Democrats have installed a forgetful old man in the White House watch them increase.

        • Lois’s recognition of reality and hard facts can hardly be described as prejudicial. Is Anne able to refute what James Cleverly is unable to contest?

          Comments made by Zionism’s supporters are welcome because, for all to see, they repeatedly demonstrate an inability to refute the evidence. Unable to disprove what is presented in the blog, Gaby seeks instead to divert attention away from it.

          • I was in no way diverting attention away from your BT’Selem propaganda. I was replying to Griffiths. The fact is, Bravery, that your lies and distortions are so transparent they expose themselves. The dead Palestinian boy, for example, was shot when his father refused to stop for the military, opting instead to execute a defiant U-turn and endanger his children’s lives. He has, of course, received a handsome lump sum from the PA for providing grist for the propaganda mill. This is why no one takes you seriously.

            • New video footage of the moment that Israeli soldiers opened fire on a Palestinian family’s car, killing their 11-year-old son, shows soldiers firing on the car as it was reversing, contradicting the army’s previous accounts of the events. Last week Israeli forces shot and killed 11-year-old Mohammed al-Alami while he was in his father’s car with his two younger siblings, as the family were on their way home from grocery shopping in their town of Beit Ummar in the southern occupied West Bank. At the time Israeli forces claimed that they attempted to stop the vehicle by firing warning shots in the air, and firing at the vehicle’s tires. The accounts of Mohammed’s father, and several eyewitnesses at the time contradicted the army’s statement, and said that the soldiers sprayed the car with bullets “out of nowhere,” and with no prior warning.

          • Leslie: It is suggested that you don’t divert from providing status reports that are well researched, and stand up to evidentiary standards. Others are doing a sound job of exposing the fuckwit trolls for what they are.

            Did you notice that among her usual hasbara* inspired diversions and word spaghetti, the person you named has now confirmed Godwin’s Law on TDB (‘Boycott Israel, the apartheid state under new management’). Pity she doesn’t have a clue about fascism in practice – but what would one expect of a mindless propagandist?
            *Ref: (

            • I would refer you back to your aforementioned thread. In particular to Brewer’s Online Debate 101 lecture and my subsequent response.
              I assure you I have enough knowledge of fascism to, as Dear Leader would put it “know it when you see it,” and having lived and worked in ME countries I have seen rather a lot of it.
              Does that make you feel better? Do you require a link to Dear Leader’s statement? It is in regard to the proposed hate speech law, which neither she, nor the Minister of Justice is able to explain satisfactorily. Or give examples as to what might constitute said hate speech. Dear oh dear, they certainly wouldn’t meet the very exacting standards that Brewer requires.

          • Leslie
            Google: Unfair treatment based on prejudice or causing prejudice can be described as prejudicial.
            Please refer to the article by Lois titled “How nasty, vindictive, spiteful can a regime be ?” where the “evidence” and “facts” of Lois’ narrative, guaranteed to tug at any parent’s heartstrings, is lacking in a few contextual details. The article was however, an excellent exemplar of how to insert emotive appeal into a write-up purporting to be evidentiary. So I’ll stick with prejudicial.

        • The ancestry of both Palestinian and Jew is at best highly contentious:
          “Results of a DNA study by geneticist Ariella Oppenheim appears to match historical accounts that Arab Israelis and Palestinians, together as the one same population, represent modern “descendants of a core population that lived in the area since prehistoric times”, albeit religiously first Christianized then largely Islamized, and all eventually culturally Arabized. Referring to those of the Muslim faith more specifically, it reaffirmed that Palestinian “Muslim Arabs are descended from Christians and Jews who lived in the southern Levant, a region that includes Israel, Sinai and part of Jordan.”

          “Tzvi Misinai, a software pioneer, who has devoted his life to assembling the facts on this issue, says that 90 per cent of Palestinian Arabs are descendants of Jews and 50 per cent know it.
          This would explain some curious phenomena.
          When the Jordanians took over Judea and Samaria in 1948, they found no mosques there. King Hussein built the first one.
          The Crusaders when they came here found that the Arabs here spoke Aramaic, not Arabic.
          Both facts would be explained if most of the “Arabs” in this land were really former or crypto-Jews.

          Early Zionist leaders David Ben-Gurion and Yitzchak Ben-Tzvi wrote: “If we investigate the origins of the Felahim, there is no doubt that much Jewish blood runs in their veins.”

          It is a really silly argument however when applied as justification for massacre and ethnic cleansing.
          Since when has it been acceptable for one group to expel another at gunpoint – on the basis that their ancestors lived there 2,000 years previously?
          Anyone who tried that on even a recent immigrant would be locked up smartly – in an orderly society.

          • Perhaps if the Time of Israel is taking as evidentiary Mr Misinai’s claim that 90% of Palestinian Arabs are descendants of Jews they might be advised to ask him how he got the figures and how reliable they are. As it is they don’t seem to know and have admitted the same.
            I’m shocked that you would link to an article which clearly breaks Online Debate 101 rules.

            • When “conversion” is at 10%, only 90% of Jews have Jewish mothers ….

              I could say disputing the number is risible, that numbers game is a tactic often condemned when used as a resort to deny historic events.

              A large proportion descendant from historic population figure/figures *** in the area over that many generations is entirely credible.

              Given first the variety of females who married those of the tribes and then the variety of males who might have bred by Jewish females (when that birth identity become consequential) it is hard to quantify …

              A known thing (or is it) is that Abraham bloodline was after the J 1 and J 2 Y male chromosome separation. One is said to more indicative of northern semitic stock and one the southern.


              • You must take your argument up with the Times of Israel then, it not having verified the claim it presents.
                Such fun playing with pronouns isn’t it. You’ll have to drop that if you ever want a job in govt…quite the Stasi they are these days…mandatory for them to be written correctly you know.

            • The Times of Israel article is evidence in support of the statement: “The ancestry of both Palestinian and Jew is at best highly contentious:” – that is all.
              Try to keep up.

              • Well now that you’ve explained your intention I quite understand. Intention of course not always being discerned by readers in the same way as the writer. I could point you to interesting examples on this site when my own intention has painstakingly, but quite incorrectly been explained to me. However, for your sake I’ll try my best to keep up.

                But just to go off the reservation for a moment what if Mr Misinai were to review the DNA of Yeminis or Meccans; both having substantial Jewish populations back in the day. I’m sure there must still be many in those areas. They wouldn’t have been ethnically cleansed surely. But what would account for the lack of synagogues?

    • Good point here Gaby
      “Echoing Inbari, it is not to be argued here that “there are no Palestinians” who thus do not deserve political rights, including self-rule and a state. To do so would be both logically and morally wrong. Palestinians have the right to define themselves as they see fit, and they must be negotiated with in good faith by Israelis. What Palestinians cannot claim, however, is that they are Palestine’s indigenous population and the Jews are settler-colonialists.”

      • Question for you Leigh.
        What are the rights to property in Palestine of descendants of those who converted to Judaism through the ages?

      • Seems from the Knesset list ( there are not too many members that can claim they are not imports or of post 1920’s colonialist stock. Strange how there are so many Russian names – or maybe not. What genealogical connections do they have with the Middle East? Also, do you have any quantitative evidence of historic Jewish links among the vast numbers who have been ‘imported’ from around the globe to displace the Palestinians you allege don’t exist?

        At least your chosen name may have a connection to Judeism, “Leigh, as a girl or boy’s name, has Hebrew and English origins. The meaning of Leigh is delicate; weary; meadow or pasture is related to the names Leah and Lee.” That should be enough to qualify you as a full-time resident Israeli Zionist instead of living here (presumably) as a NZ resident shill.

  2. From Gaby’s link-a useful point

    “Echoing Inbari, it is not to be argued here that “there are no Palestinians” who thus do not deserve political rights, including self-rule and a state. To do so would be both logically and morally wrong. Palestinians have the right to define themselves as they see fit, and they must be negotiated with in good faith by Israelis.
    What Palestinians cannot claim, however, is that they are Palestine’s indigenous population and the Jews are settler-colonialists.”

    • How funny. “BT’Selem……. have been thoroughly discredited” – by NGO Monitor, the NGO “based in Jerusalem, which analyzes and reports on the output of the international NGO community from a pro-Israel perspective.” – WP
      NGO Monitor was set up by The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs:
      “described as neo-conservative.[7] It has been headed since 2000 by “Netanyahu confidante” Dore Gold.[15] In 2015 Haaretz identified Sheldon Adelson as “one of the main financers of JCPA in recent years”;[15] Adelson is an American billionaire casino magnate, staunch supporter of Jewish settlement of the West Bank and biggest contributor to US Republicans in the 2018 US midterm elections during President Donald Trump’s mandate.[8]” – WP.
      Here is a list of their “antisemitic European and Arab” funders:
      Bread for the World
      Catholic Relief Services
      Christian Aid Ireland
      Church of Scotland
      Common Services Corporation of the United Church of Christ
      Consulat General de France a Jerusalem
      DanChurchAid (DCA)
      European Commission
      European Endowment for Democracy
      Euro-Mediterranean Foundation of Support to Human Rights Defenders
      Fondation Pro Victimis
      Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat
      Moriah Fund
      New Israel Fund
      Open Society Foundations
      Royal Norwegian Embassy
      Sigrid Rausing Trust
      Stichting Niks Voor Niks

  3. To paraphrase Bravery above, it’s always cheering to read the posts of the anti-Zionists on TGB, because they gleefully expose their antisemitism, not only through their pathological obsession with the world’s one and only tiny Jewish state, but in the way they ignore or whitewash Arab/Palestinian terrorism, which began long before 1948 or 1967. ‘Human rights’ activism doesn’t extend to Jews, apparently.

    • How convenient that some influential vested groups in another parts of the world mischievously married a dubious political philosophy with a religion so that the term ‘anti-sematic’ can now be sprayed around with abandon by undiscerning propagandists. News reports suggest that inappropriate usage of the term is eroding its usefulness in describing a particular variant of racism. The upshot is that in the UK and Europe in particular, the labelled are now adversely responding to the labelling, with the result that there is an acceleration of negative consequences for Jewish populations. Fortunately, most of the name-calling in NZ is pretty much confined to this website and taken like water off a duck’s back. It is time for the name-callers to desist before greater damage is done!

  4. Since derailing conversations and taking off on tangents has become de rigueur for defenders of the Zionist ethos on TDB, this comment has been lifted (and edited) from, ‘Boycott Israel, the apartheid state under new management’ and was on posted 11 August at 2:46, prior to removal of the original posting from the site overnight.

    Quote: “For every link you, aom, reason, Khaela and every other commenter here who would drive Jews back into the diaspora paste here I can find information elsewhere that would back an alternate viewpoint.” This is akin to a fellow troll’s recent derogatory accusation on another thread, of a person who, as were others of similar age, profoundly affected by immediate post-war photographs and narratives about the extermination camps and other indignities inflicted on the Jews, as being a ‘holocaust denier’. In reality, most of those listed or alluded to by the commenter to whom this is directed, are probably of a similar demographic. No doubt, all had the their commitment to universal human rights forged in the deaths of untold millions, especially inclusive the Jews who were the victims of the most egregious human rights abuses that could be imaginable.

    Doubtless, none those listed along with the nebulous ‘other commenters’, who no doubt include the various TDB contributors, would be other than supportive of the NZ Jewish community. This would apply in work, social settings and at play. A prejudicial bent seems to have engendered a very sick stereotype that sees protest against a political movement that demonstrates little respect for the human rights of others, as unacceptable.

    Who is driving anyone back into the diaspora as claimed? Not the accused! However, there is a good chance that eventually, Israel will drive many of its own population into the diaspora, just as surely as it is causing young Jews to assertively assert that they are not Israeli and do not support the political direction of the ‘Nation State of Jews”.

    Israel’s abuses of internationally recognised basic human rights of course are not restricted to just Palestinians, but other minority sects as well. This even runs to mixed marriages being unacceptable.

    Before anyone gets on to the ‘but what-abouts’ of other countries and the usual miasma of meaningless verbiage, forget it. Ignorance and misrepresentation of the views of others precludes you even going there. That is, unless you want to trumpet your own strenuous efforts to change the world and by promoting equal human rights for all, irrespective of race, colour, creed or religion.

    • Aom. That’s quite a rant and as you are quoting my post of Aug 9 @ 10.48 pm can you explain what you mean by “posted 11 August at 2:46, prior to removal of the original posting from the site overnight. ” Who removes posts? Why is my post which you have quoted from still there?
      The rest of your diatribe here doesn’t even make sense but you’ll be pleased to know I have replied to your question on the diaspora back on the other thread.
      PS. As your colleagues here are so helpful to me with advice on what I must and must not do and say, how to research and debate correctly, how to stay on the reservation etc etc I feel obliged to pass on a tip to you. You’re beginning to sound very much like the child at school who the other kids hated because he/she tittle tattled to the teacher. Gossip, dark warnings and hidden innuendos are not required here.
      And please learn to write in the active rather than the passive voice. Much less verbiage involved.

      • Makes sense to me. A bunch of us don’t like Gaby. Gaby hates Palestinians and we’ve tried everything to pull him back. Gaby doesn’t just hate Palestinians, he wants to kill them. To then turn around as though the bunch of us want to kill Jews are mean get the fuck outta here bitch, She/her.

        • Sam: please read the penultimate sentence in my reply to aom.
          It applies also to you.
          I have read nothing from Gaby that indicates he is guilty of your charges.
          Do you need to be told this is not your blog? If the blog owner is unhappy with my presence here or my posts he is within his rights to ban me. You are not.
          And I won’t be chased away by belligerent, effete pillocks.

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